High Notes

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Music can change the world because it can change people - Bono

His father envisioned him as a concert violinist, but Orlando Da Silva will not be playing the violin at the second High Notes for Mental Health concert on May 2 at the Flato Markham Theatre.

Instead, the current president of the Ontario Bar Association (OBA) and a successful litigation lawyer with the Ministry of the Attorney General, will be there because he is living proof that you can have a mental illness and again live a successful life.

Orlando is living with a condition call dysthymia, a chronic low-grade depression that cycles into a major depressive episode every 4-5 years.

“During those episodes I feel worthless and feel no joy and I think I will never be better,“ he says.

It was during one of those episodes coupled with some professional and personal circumstances that led him to self medicate and overdose on wine and 180 sleeping pills. Luckily—after a 911 call and spending time in the hospital— he lived to tell his story.

“Now, I have learnt to recognize the triggers, have found healthy ways to cope and to remind myself that there are always better days to come.”

“Playing the violin helps a great deal as it takes the role of meditation for me,” says Orlando who picked up lessons again in 2012.

As president of the OBA the organization that serves as ‘the voice of Ontario’s legal profession’ Orlando has taken the inspiring step to help others lawyers and professionals who may be experiencing challenges with their mental health and well-being.

“Before deciding to tell my story, I had done some readings and found that there were a lot of successful trial lawyers, also in their mid 40s, who were depressed but highly functional. They suffered in silence because they were afraid to show what they perceived as a weakness and instead took their lives.

Under Orlando’s leadership, the OBA has launched a motivating campaign called “Opening Remarks,” geared toward having a more open conversation about mental health in professional settings.  The OBA’s campaign includes education, tips, online interviews and resources and other opportunities for Orlando and others to speak openly about mental health challenges.

I hope that by telling my story publicly, others may be inspired to tell their story privately and get the help they need,” says Orlando.

About the High Notes for Mental Health concert:

The second annual High Notes for Mental Health concert takes place at the Flato Markham Theatre on Saturday, May 2, 2015.  It will be an evening of music, hope and inspiration and will feature a stellar line-up of musical and spoken word artists, including Royal Canadian Air Farce veteran, Luba Goy as host, acclaimed tenor, Richard Margison and his daughter Lauren Margison, the St. Michael’s Choir School, Canadian accordion champion, Michael Bridge, violist Alex McLeod, Unionville High School student Charissa Vandikas, Dr Rustom Sethna, Chief Psychiatrist of the Markham-Stouffville Hospital and Canadian conductor and motivational speaker, Boris Brott, spoken word artist and mental health survivor Julie Everson and of course Orlando Da Silva, head of the Ontario Bar Association and mental health advocate.

For more information, please call 416.605.8915 or visit our website at www.highnotesavante.ca.  For tickets please call The Markham Flato Theatre at 905.305.SHOW (7469).

About the Ontario Bar Association:

Established in 1907, the OBA is the largest voluntary legal association in Ontario and represents over 16,000 lawyers, judges, law professors and law students.  The OBA provides continuing professional development and advocates for improvements to the law in the interests of the profession and public.

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